Kiki was sick the day they did the dry ice lab in her physics class. Dry ice allows the students to simulate a frictionless environment. In order to help Kiki make up her assignment we declared playing with dry ice to be our Monday night family activity. For safety, I made them all put on gloves. The squabbling began about two seconds after I got the ice out of the bag. They all had very clear ideas about what we should do with the ice, but none of them were very good at pausing to listen to each other. Even with the squabbles, much fun was had as we slid the block across our kitchen counter helping Kiki with her experiments.
Then we explored the joy of plunking the remaining ice into a pot of water. The bubbles of fog were truly impressive. Photographing them was tricky. Two kids had to blow the fog away while I aimed the camera.
Naturally we spent some time letting the fog flow over the sides of the pot and across the counter.
Even this part of the experiment was not argument free. Gleek wanted to catch and swirl the fog with her hands. Kiki wanted to watch the patterns it made when undisturbed. Except when they swapped roles wanting the opposite things. Add in two more kids with desires to stir, pull the ice back out and slide it some more, and a host of other creative ideas… Let’s just say the playing with dry ice is not a conflict free experience with a family of four.
Yet it was completely worthwhile and quite a lot of fun. Sometimes we get to do something really cool. Literally. The dry ice formed condensation and ice crystals wherever it went.